Effects of Sino-U.S. relations

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Effects of Sino-U.S. relations

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to China paved the way for the two nations to share their views on forging a new partnership. In a series of meetings with Chinese leaders including President Hu Jintao, Clinton emphasized the necessity of improving bilateral cooperation across their two societies, dealing with issues such as the economic crisis and climate change.

The Chinese side responded positively, saying there is a growing need to take bilateral relations to a higher plane.

There has been some concern that the launch of the Obama administration in the U.S. may hamper the development of Sino-American relations because the U.S. might try to push for an improvement in human rights in China. The U.S. has also raised questions about China’s policy of exchange rate manipulation. But on this trip, Clinton left such sensitive issues until next time. Instead, she flattered China, extending thanks to the country for having confidence in U.S. bonds.

Of course, the Bush administration has forged a limited alliance with China. Meanwhile, as the world’s most populous country is a potential threat to U.S. strategic interests in the region, Washington has pressured China via strengthened alliances with Japan and Korea. Hence, China maintained close military ties with Russia and was reluctant to intensify its pressure on North Korea in the six-party talks.

However, the Obama administration takes a different stance. Clinton clarified her position during the presidential election, stressing the importance of her country’s relations with China. She emphasized China’s role as a responsible stakeholder in Asia. Therefore, the establishment of cooperative Sino-U.S. relations may cause a fundamental change in how existing international issues such as the six-party talks are addressed.

Against this backdrop, the Korean government should make no mistakes in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the changing aspects of Sino-U.S. relations, taking our complicated position into consideration. We are faced with a nuclear-armed North Korea, and should recognize China’s growing predominance in relation to America’s strategic flexibility.

Emergency measures should be devised in advance to respond to possible emergency situations - for instance, if Sino-American relations are derailed. First and foremost, cautious diplomatic measures should be prepared to strengthen our alliance with the U.S. and to prevent conflicts of interest with China.
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